My apologizes for not writing a preview for Wednesday's game but when you are in Boston at Fenway it is tough to find time to write but I am here for one more game and am ready to bring you the preview here. My local team the Toronto Blue Jays will be traveling here to Boston to square off in a division battle as they have narrowed the gap but the Sox hope to send them back after this four game series. Just when it seemed the Blue Jays' hot streak might have ended, they bounced back from two tough losses with a convincing 3-0 win over the Rays on Wednesday. The Blue Jays have recorded six shutouts this season, with four of them coming this month mostly during their streak. Red Sox third baseman Jose Iglesias didn't reach base in Wednesday's contest, snapping a streak of 27 consecutive games with a plate appearance in which he reached base safely. He batted .430 (40-for-93) during that stretch before going 0-for-4 on Wednesday.
Game 1: Jon Lester (7-4) vs. Chien Ming Wang (1-0)
After an amazing game Wednesday versus the Rays with Dickey the Jays hope to continue that game going into Boston. Game 1 they will send Chien Ming Wang to the mound who has gone 16+ shut out innings which is the longest streak for a Jays pitcher this year. Wang will look to pick up Thursday where Dickey left off, carrying a personal streak of 16 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run into his fourth outing of the year. He now has two quality starts in three outings since joining Toronto's rotation following a prolonged stint in the Minor Leagues. Going up against Wang will be Red Sox ace lefty Jon Lester, who has only one quality start in his past seven outings, with a 7.30 ERA in that span. Red Sox manager John Farrell said Lester is healthy and repeating his delivery. His issue is simply one of consistency and execution, especially with two outs and runners on base. Many people will have their eyes on not on Lester but also Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes who played Wednesday after coming off the 60 day DL. Reyes hopes to bounce back quickly after going hitless Wednesday. The Jays have had a hot bat lately leading the majors in homers for June but Lester looks to shut that down!
Prediction: Red Sox win 6-2
Game 2: Allen Webster (0-2) vs. Josh Johnson (1-2)
Common Buchholz we need you back now! Clay Buchholz has yet to play a game since June 9th now and has been taken off rehab due to more tightness in his neck and back. The Sox will give the job to Allen Webster who will have to fill the shoes of one of the best pitchers in baseball as even missing his past few starts Buchholz sits at 9-0 with the best ERA in baseball. Webster on the other hand has an ERA we probably should not mention as he has more earned runs that innings pitched this year. Personally, I think it's time to give Rubby De La Rosa a chance at the majors as Webster will most likely not be much of a match for the Jays tonight. Boston's 6-4 record against Toronto this season reflects what the rest of baseball now knows: At full strength, the Blue Jays have the firepower to hang with the frontrunners in the AL East and around the league. The Red Sox did not waste any time putting the first contest of a four-game set out of reach, however, tagging Toronto starter Chien-Ming Wang for seven runs in the second inning and hanging on for a 7-4 victory on Thursday night. The Jays hope to have their starter, Josh Johnson go much further in Friday's game as he picked up his first win as a Blue Jay in his last outing vs. the Orioles. Johnson avoided trouble in the first, and then was nearly unhittable until surrendering four late runs after the game was all but decided. Thursday's game marked the halfway point of the regular season for the Red Sox, meaning that for a team-record 16th consecutive year, Boston has a winning record through 81 games, at 48-33.
Prediction: Blue Jays win 8-5
Game 3: Felix Doubront (4-3) vs. Esmil Rogers (3-3)
Great game by Allen Webster last night will set up the two youngsters for a Saturday late afternoon game where the Sox hope to get closer to a sweep while the Jays seek their first win of the series. After an 11-game winning streak, the Blue Jays have had a tough time on their seven-game road trip through the American League East. They are 1-4 on their current skid and will look to return to their winning ways on Saturday afternoon. Today the Jays will send Esmil Rogers to the mound who joined the rotation in late May after the J.A. Happ injury. Rogers allowed four runs on seven hits during six innings during his last start against the Rays. Almost all of the damage came in the second inning, when he surrendered three consecutive homers. It won't be easy for Rogers today as the Sox enter play with 4 straight wins and will send Felix Doubront to the mound. One game removed from the best start of his career -- an eight-inning scoreless performance vs. the Rays -- Doubront lasted just five innings against Detroit on Sunday. He gave up three runs (two earned), while walking four and striking out two. Doubront is winless in his career against Toronto at Fenway Park, posting a 6.75 ERA in five outings, two of them starts. The Sox are coming in hot at Fenway and hope to continue that streak this weekend as we are now halfway through this division battle where the Sox attempt to show they are the leagues best team.
Prediction: Red Sox win 6-3
Game 4: Ryan Dempster (5-8) vs. Mark Buehrle
The Blue Jays will start Mark Buehrle, who surrendered four runs on eight hits while issuing a season-high four walks over just five innings in his previous start against the Rays. The four earned runs were the most the left-hander had allowed since May 17 in New York, where he surrendered five to the Yankees. The Jays hope that Buehrle can go deep in this game to give the bullpen a bit of a rest as they have been golden these series almost silencing the Sox offense. The Jays bullpen is easily the best in the American league. To face Buehrle on the mound will be Canadian, Ryan Dempster who is coming off yet another quality start. In his previous start against the Rockies, Dempster picked up his fifth win of the season by holding them to two runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out four over six innings. Today the Sox will hope to secure their lead of the most series wins on the year at 17.
Prediction: Red Sox win 5-2